Wednesday, July 27, 2011


You may or may not know this, but I already had a favourite tzatziki recipe. It's true. I blogged about it right here. And I was quite happily going through the motions of straining and chopping and churning out some of what I thought was pretty good tzatziki.

And then I got a little lazy. It happens. I'm not perfect.

I kept buying cucumbers and yogurt and then I kept forgetting to strain the yogurt. So we'd end up with a fridge full of yogurt and slowly decaying cucumbers. It's not that straining yogurt is hard, but since moving, we've downgraded to a smaller fridge and having a big bowl in there taking up space is kinda bothersome.

And then Superstore started selling its own Greek yogurt. I was pretty ecstatic. I thought that would put an end to all my straining and draining. Now I could actually buy thick Greek yogurt and dump everything else in, right? Wrong.

Superstore's Greek yogurt isn't as thick as it probably should be; and, as it turned out, my method really depended on yogurt that was completely drained with an almost butter-like consistency. So despite everything being exactly the same except the yogurt, we ended up with tzatziki that tasted undeliciously like plain yogurt. 

I was pretty convinced I'd have to go back to my straining and draining ways, but once the Greek parents arrived and we started making recipes together, it wasn't long until I asked to make tzatziki. Might as well see how a Greek does it while I got 'em around, right?

What we got was the most garlic-y tzatziki I've ever had. But I liked it! A lot! You can reduce the amount of garlic if you want to but, as I was told, you're not eating proper tzatziki unless you have garlic breath the morning after. Just saying.

from my Greek mother-in-law

1 750 g tub of Balkan-style yogurt (I use Astro's Original Balkan. You could use Superstore's new Greek yogurt, but it only comes in half tubs and costs the same as a big tub and that bothers me like you wouldn't believe)
1 whole english cucumber, peeled and cut in half
1 whole garlic bulb, separated and peeled (not one little clove, the whole damn thing. About 11-12 cloves)
salt and pepper to taste
1 tablespoon olive oil (she poured it in; I had the restraint to limit it to a tablespoon)

Dump the entire tub of yogurt into a medium sized bowl.

Grate the entire cucumber into a fine mesh strainer either over the sink or in another empty bowl (it's a lot less awkward to grate one half at a time rather than the whole thing at once). Once it's all grated, hold the strainer over the sink and with your free hand squeeze out as much cucumber juice as possible. Just squeeze the hell out of it. This is a good recipe to work out your frustrations on.

Add the cucumber to the yogurt. With the box grater again, grate up all of the garlic cloves directly into the yogurt and cucumbers. Be very careful not to grate any fingers or fingernails into your tzatziki. No one will like that.

Add a very generous amount of salt and pepper (to taste, but a rough teaspoon of each should do it). Add the olive oil and mix. Store the tzatziki in the fridge. It's better to make it a little ahead of time so all the flavours have a chance to mingle around with the yogurt.

{note} I like to put the tzatziki back into the yogurt container so it stores easily in the fridge. It won't all fit back into the tub, but there's just a little leftover that will fit into a small bowl that you should finish in one meal (if you're using it correctly).

{noted} The box grater was used at least once for absolutely every single Greek dish we made. I only use the grater for cheese and maybe once a year for a chocolate zucchini cake, but I don't think my box grater ever made it back to the drawer for two whole weeks. And we never once used it to grate cheese. So if I could impart one lesson about Greek cooking today it's to put away your big chopping knife, find yourself a small paring knife and a box grater, and grate the hell out of every vegetable you're using. But. No one will call you a wimp if you decide to grate the cucumber and garlic with your food processor. We can't see what you're doing in your home.


Torviewtoronto said...

tzatziki looks delicious following your site

Laeli said...

That's kinda how I make mine, only I strain half my yogurt so its like cheese and add a bit of mint and oregano. I'm a fan of the super galricy taste too,yay! To me its not he same without the stink breath.

GALaxy said...

Torviewtoronto: Thanks!

Lael: I used to strain my yogurt, too. I always thought it was easier to strain it than mess around with squeezing out cucumber. I love garlic, too. It's really hard for me to avoid eating a whole bulb of roasted garlic if it's around!